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Fun Holiday Activities for Sick Kids

Wouldn't you know it--Christmas vacation is finally here and your child gets ill. Holidays can be miserable for sick kids (and parents who must care for them). No parties, curtailed activities, more work, extra worries--it kinda takes the "merry" out of "Christmas." But it doesn't have to. Here are at-home family holiday activities that sick kids can enjoy, too. Click around on this blog for free printable crafts for kids to make.  Read more 

Free Printable Feast of the Immaculate Conception Activities, Crafts

December 8 marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception is one of six recognized Holy Days in the liturgical calendar. Here are free printable activities and lessons to celebrate this feast day. I've gone through all the noted Catholic websites and linked this article to children's liturgy activities that explore the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother.  read more

Free Printable Christmas Decorations, Ornaments, Crafts

Finding yourself cash-strapped this holiday season? You're not alone! Many years, my Christmas budget barely covered gifts, let alone holiday decorations. I admired the lovely Christmas decor my friends and neighbors put up, but not the big bucks they shelled out. If I had any money left, I wanted to share with kids in need, not buy dust collectors or disposable decorations. Fortuneately, the internet provides a solution: free printable Christmas decorations and crafts. Print from your computer for cheap holiday decor. All you need is paper and ink and you can save on those by printing in black ink on recycled paper (be sure to set your printer to "economy" to use less ink). Then have kids color black and white images! A 25 cent box of crayons bought at back-to-school sales and you've got a child minder craft that will keep kids happily occupied all season long! And kids will love decorating with ornaments they've made themselves. You're making memories, saving money and keeping kids productively occupied all at once! Talk about multitasking--girl, you rock! read on

Free Printable Thanksgiving Puzzles and Word Games

Thanksgiving kicks off the Christmas holiday season in schools and at home. When I think of Thanksgiving holiday parties, I think of food, family and how richly blessed I am. I remember past Thanksgiving celebrations family and students I've taught. I've always linked curriculum current holidays. At Thanksgiving, we study American history, exploration, settlement, religions, native American cultures and early technology. At our holiday parties, we play seasonal themed games. Here are lesson plans for the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving. These are adaptable for Christmas, too. You can print games, puzzles, word searches, crossword puzzles, matching games etc. I use these games to connect lessons and content. Word games and puzzles also make excellent non-traditional tests.  Read more

Free Printable Eastern Orthodox Catholic Coloring Activities

The Christian Orthodox church, whose branches include Russian, Ukrainian, Slavic, Slavonic and Greek Orthodox, is linked to the Byzantine Church. The eastern rite churches follow most of the same practices as the Christian Catholic church, such as veneration of saints, icons, holy relics and martyrs. Here are free printable coloring pages, activities and lesson plans to celebrate Orthodox Advent and Christmas. Epiphany is a specifically Orthodox holiday and the occasion on which most Orthodox families exchange gifts. Read more

Free Printable Christmas Party Puzzles and Word Games

When I think of holiday parties, I think of food, family and how richly blessed I am. I also remember past celebrations with my family at home and with students in various classrooms. I've always linked curriculum in my classroom to the current season or holiday. Need free printable holiday games and puzzles? You've found them. This was written for Thanksgiving, but there are puzzles for Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah and Saturnalia, too. read more

Ways parents can develop awareness of poverty, teach generosity

If I had a buck for every time I heard someone say "kids today are so insensitive and selfish," I'd be rich. If kids lack sensitivity, it's because we parents have failed to teach empathy. And kids need to learn empathy, especially with those in need. Here are ways to develop awareness of world poverty and teach generosity. Christmas is a great time teach kids awareness of social justice, world poverty. read more

Best Personal Calendar, Planner, Organizer Apps Online

Okay, I admit it--I am an organizer-ophile. I find it therapeutic to wander the planner aisle in Barnes & Noble. When I get a new cellphone, the first thing I play with is the calendar function. But I am also a tightwad--I will not pay for organizers apps or software. And I don't have to, nor do you, when there are so free utilities available online. Just in time for holiday shopping. To snag the best deals, Christmas shopping requires organization, planning and budgeting. Here are the best organizer apps on the net. read more

Advent Recipes, Christmas Cookie Recipes

Advent was our favorite season when we homeschooled. We did holiday math, advent writing, Christmas social studies, winter science. Everything about Christmas is a teachable moment. Here are Christmas cookie recipes with a holiday object lesson. Our family is into its third decade making these holiday treats. read more

DIY Advent Calendar Craft for Christmas Countdown

 Advent is the four week period before Christmas. Advent calendars make a great way to countdown the days until Christmas. You can purchase an advent calendar, print of of the many free Advent calendars or make your own using this easy pattern. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, so the length of time Advent lasts will change each year. To make your Advent calendar reusable from year to year, you can simply number the windows from 1-30. That will ensure that you always have enough windows to countdown for each day before Christmas. On the years with shorter Advent seasons, simply continue on after Christmas. read more

Parents Benefit from Giving, Receiving Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes

When back-to-school shopping, don't forget Operation Christmas Child's holiday shoeboxes. Now's a perfect time to stock up school supplies, crayons, pencils, scissors, markers, glue sticks and paper to fill your boxes. For Catholic and Christian families, packing an OCC box is a great Advent almsgiving activity. Advent is a lesser penitential season, like Lent and almsgiving is one the acts. Most others faiths practice some kind of charitable giving (such as Muslim zakat) and OCC provides a good avenue to do that. Giving to those in need is also relieves holiday stress and teaches kids that Christmas isn't just about getting. Here's how to do that read more

A Very Merry Tomie DePaola Christmas--Holiday Children's Literature Party Planner

Looking for ideas for an around the world Christmas party? How about multicultural Christmas lesson plans? Why not use this holiday planner from Tomie DePaola books. Tomie is one of the world's best loved artists and children's authors. Mr. DePaola admits that he loves Christmas and it shows in the holiday magic he imbues in his stories and art. We were fortunate to meet him in person. He's funny, warm and articulate. Here's Tomie DePaola's Christmas collection. I've included DePaola books on saints whose feast days fall in Advent and Christmas season. Read more

Best Book Gifts from Scholastic Top 100 Children's Literature Picks

Children's literature mogul Scholastic came out with a "bucket list" of must-read kids' books in its most recent issue of Parent & Child Magazine, says the Sun Times. Here's a look at the recommendations listed in their "100 Greatest Books for Kids."

* According to Scholastic Parent, they created the list to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the National Education Association's "Read Across America Day" on March 2. That day also commemorates the birthday of beloved children's author and illustrator Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Theodore "Ted" Giesel). Read more

Best Black Friday Toy Picks from Parent Gurus

Written for Christmas, 2011, these were the top toy picks for last year. The good news is that for 2012, you'll be able to pick up good deals on these. Some are educational and some are just plain fun. With Black Friday this week, parenting gurus are exploring toys and creating shopping recommendations. It has asked kids to test and evaluate various toys. Parents look not just for low prices but also lots of educational bang for their toy-buying buck. Here are the top picks.

*My Keepon: A voice-activated, motion-sensitive interactive doll that looks like a baby chicken, it's also squishy-soft. This toy is popular with sixth graders of both genders. Read more

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